As the COVID-19 situation continues to improve across the state, Hawaii will lift capacity restrictions for many outdoor activities—and in keeping with the rest of the United States, international and domestic travelers will be welcomed back to the islands beginning November 8. 

Gov. David Ige made the announcement on capacity restrictions this week. He had previously asked in August that would-be travelers postpone their trip to Hawaii until the latest wave of Delta-driven infections had settled. It was a request, rather than an outright travel ban, to give Hawaii time to recover.

Summer in Hawaii had seen a surge in coronavirus case numbers across the state that overwhelmed the health service and strained resources. But now case numbers are steadily decreasing, and the percentage of the population that's fully vaccinated is on the rise. “Our state continues to see one of the lowest incidences of COVID-19 and death rates related to the virus," Gov. Ige said in a press release. "As more and more people are vaccinated, we are moving to ease pandemic mitigation measures—including travel restrictions—in a way that ensures the health and safety of our communities.”

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For direct international travel from November 8 onward, US citizens have two options: fully vaccinated travelers will have to show proof of vaccination and present a test taken within three days of boarding their flight to the US, while those not fully vaccinated will have to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result within one day of boarding their flight to the US. 

Non-US citizens will be required to show both vaccination records and a negative COVID-19 test result taken within three days of boarding a flight to the US. Passengers failing to meet these requirements will be denied boarding. 

For non-direct international travel—i.e., international passengers who enter the US from another state or territory—you'll need to complete the Safe Travels Hawaii form before departure and, to bypass quarantine, either upload your vaccination record or a negative NAAT test result taken no more than 72 hours before the start of your trip.

Surf rental shop on Kona beach
A state of emergency is in place until at least the end of November ©Vacclav/Shutterstock

Meanwhile, the executive order easing capacity limits goes into effect November 12. "Outdoor activity at restaurants, bars, and social establishments are no longer subject to restrictions (such as masks, mingling, and six feet of distance). Indoor activity will continue restrictions as normal," the governor tweeted November 3. "Indoor capacity for all indoor high-risk activities is set at 50% unless the county implements a policy requiring vaccination or negative COVID-19 test, in which case, there is NO capacity limit. This includes gyms, as well as bars, restaurants, and social establishments."

It's worth noting that although things are improving in Hawaii, the situation could change suddenly. Gov. Ige has said that officials will "continue to monitor case counts and hospitalizations in the islands and adjust as needed while prioritizing the health and safety of our residents." Always check the latest public health guidelines before traveling. For more information on COVID-19 measures, see the Hawaii Tourism Authority website.

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This article was first published Oct 20, 2021 and updated Nov 5, 2021.

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